The Need For Speed (Part 2)

aka How to find out if your site is slow…




If you think your site is slow, it probably is. But to really tell, you need to do some testing. And to test it right you need to vary up how it is access and where so that you have an idea if it is you, your site, or your hosting provider that is slow. The last one is the hardest one to prove without disabling everything and running WordPress in its most stripped down form to see if it still tests slow. When you are done, you may want to read Part 1 and Part 3 is on its way.

The first way to test is using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Type in your web address and hit Analyze.



80 isn’t horrible but it isn’t like making an A either. Consider it a C. And the first thing it says is optimize images. Oh, How did I do on Mobile?



I failed. Mobile phones probably hate me. I am the poster child for the slowest site on the Interwebs. Let’s get a second opinion. Just like going to the doctor we should check two sources.

So next we go to Pingdom to do the full page test. and it appears for my site, the rests are similar to Google’s.



To make maters worse, my site had been faster just a couple of weeks ago. What happened?



To really figure it out, it might be good to analyze our site on a page by page basis.

We can do this by installing a plugin called Google Pagespeed Insights for WordPress. To use this plugin, you will have to install it from or your usual way of installing things and then go to here and register for a Google API key specifically for Google PageSpeed Insights. Visit the Install Page of this plugin for detailed information on how to do this. Go to Tools, Pagespeed Insights and go to the Options tab to put in your API key.

After you get your API entered, scroll to the bottom of the page and choose “Save Options & Check Pages”. This will take a while if your site has some size to it but you can proceed to do other things while this happens in the background.




Go to the Report List inside Google Page Insights Plugin settings (Under Tools) to see the results. And the results are in.


To see which pages are the worst, visit the Report Summary tab. In the lower right corner you see “Lowest Scoring Pages”


In the upper right corner you see graphs that show what are the biggest offenders to our speed.


In this case, it is JavaScript. This could be caused by bad plugins, too many plugins (yes, it is possible to have too many and they will slow your site down).

All we can do is roll up our sleeves and being trying to figure out what slowed our site down so much.

If we click on our slowest page in “Lowest Scoring Pages” it will give a score for that page and a breakdown of what made it so slow.


And the culprit in this case? It says server response time. But I am not so sure. Something is up with JavaScript and CSS too. Everything below the top result we have immediate access to in order to work on speeding things up. Let’s make sure our house is in order before we blame someone else.



In Part 3, we tear this all down and find the culprits and optimize what we thought we had already optimized.

Christian | Father | Tech Evangelist | Author | Public Speaker | Future TEDx speaker |WordPress Aficionado * I am the author of "WordPress: Setup to Website". I love all things tech and gadgets and I probably have an opinion about it which some people seek out. Follow @aroyrichardson